VIEW: Insensitive and terrible leadership —Mohammad Jamil - Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Source :\02\22\story_22-2-2011_pg3_5

The PPP has indeed failed to deliver on many counts but so have all the provincial governments, as controlling the law and order situation and maintaining a check on prices falls within the provinces’ ambit

Pakistan is facing a multifaceted crisis; its economy is in dire straits, rampant inflation has pushed a great majority of people to below the poverty line and terrorism is stalking the country where foreign elements have made inroads into militant organisations. Members of the Obama administration, American think tanks and generals consider Pakistan’s tribal belt to be the epicentre of global terrorism. Pak-US relations are at their lowest ebb after the arrest of Raymond Davis, and the US administration has no patience for the due process of law to prove in court that Raymond Davis has diplomatic immunity. They are neither troubled in heart or conscience over the sad demise of the widow of one of the slain who took her own life in grief and dejection nor over another Pakistani’s death under the wheels of the recklessly driven ‘rescue’ vehicle. There are threats of cutting aid and even severing diplomatic ties with Pakistan. At this point in time, it is imperative that all political parties stand united to meet the challenges facing the country, but the political eminences are at loggerheads and are oblivious to the dangers ahead.

In the history of mankind, there have been many instances where a nation faced the dilemma of choosing the right course of action for solutions to their problems. Pakistan has material resources and hard working people but both the state and society remain clueless as to how to capitalise on these rich resources, release the immense latent energy and reach the ultimate goal of spiritual emancipation, prosperity, social cohesion and solidarity amongst the people. Pakistan lacks visionary leadership. Who we see on the political scene are mostly impostors and pigmies. Could there really be such a clueless, directionless and inept leadership across the spectrum, ignorant of even how the public feels about it? Those occupying positions of power, whether at the centre or provinces, are setting new records in making a hash of the people’s problems with their incompetence, ineptitude, corruption, administrative chaos and sleaze. Their bizarre propensity of politicking even on the people’s most grievous distress cuts across all segments of the political class without exception.

Mian Nawaz Sharif’s latest take on how the federal government has mishandled the issue of Raymond Davis is reflective of point scoring. Though former Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s disclosure exposes the federal government, Mian Nawaz Sharif’s own contention is fraught and deeply devious, as the mishandling had arguably started in his own domain when the Lahore police instantly came out with conflicting statements (with the subordinate ranks contradicting their chief). In fact, he is as much given to mollycoddling and massaging American hearts as Islamabad’s top political echelon. Eminences swaggering over the national political landscape, the Liaquats, Munawars, Qazis, Fazlurs and the likes are chips off the same block. In the past, they stood by the US during the Afghan jihad. There is a perception that they all are pretenders and practitioners of chicanery, not real leaders. Davis makes for good politics for them, keeping them preoccupied for some time.

The PPP has indeed failed to deliver on many counts but so have all the provincial governments, as controlling the law and order situation and maintaining a check on prices falls within the provinces’ ambit. They have utterly failed in providing any relief to the masses. They have been trying to distract the people through the Charter of Democracy and lately with the 10-point programme on which confabulations between the PML-N and the PPP have led nowhere. Both parties had formed a committee to thrash out these points and for point scoring against and deceiving each other — the PPP to complete its tenure and the PML-N to discredit the PPP. Meanwhile, the MQM submitted its nine points and the PML-Q its seven points. It appears that they are not serious in addressing the real issues confronting the people. The PPP-led federal government’s economic team met the delegates of the PML-N, PML-Q, ANP and MQM under the deluding banner of consensus — a deceptive excuse that the present crop has thought of to cover up its intellectual bankruptcy, shady political deals, political expediencies and dirty political tricks.

The PML-N leaders are now girding up their loins to go into another round of confrontation and push for early polls. Since it has prepared the ground by getting the unification group separate seats from the PML-Q in the Punjab Assembly, Mian Nawaz Sharif is upping the ante and is trying to provoke the PPP to resign from the Punjab cabinet. Mian Nawaz Sharif has now said that the PPP-led government will not be given more time to implement the PML-N’s 10-point agenda. He warned: “Non-implementation of the agenda will harm democracy, whereas implementation on the set agenda will strengthen the country.” However, there is nothing to alleviate the sufferings of the people either in the Charter of Democracy, the 18th Amendment, or the 10-points. What people are interested in is consensus on bringing the prices of essential commodities down to within the reach of the common man. These eminences do not realise that people are fed up with this churlish circus show and do not consider them real leaders. Instead of indulging in the politics of power and pelf, there is still time for them to get down to the serious business of governance that has been neglected banefully so far.

Political analysts were of the opinion that if the political process were allowed to take its course, democracy would have taken root in Pakistan. But, what happened during 1985 and 1999? Mian Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto never accepted the results of the four elections held during the above period, and remained busy in cobbling alliances to oust each other’s governments. One should not hold any brief for military dictators but the people of Pakistan did not find any difference between military dictators and elected rulers. In fact, democracy cannot take root in Pakistan because of an outdated and decadent feudal system and its culture that engenders ignorance, poverty, hunger and disease. This system is also responsible for intolerance, obscurantism and repression in society. By its very nature, it is anti-democratic and negates all concept of human rights, considered the hallmark of a civilised society. If at all there has to be a consensus, it should be to bring about a basic change in the system by doing away with feudalism and its mindset. Our streets are boiling with no less fury than demonstrated in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Algeria. Let all and sundry know that.

The writer is a freelance columnist. He can be reached at

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